Archive by Author

Cigar Review: La Antiguedad Robusto

15 Jul 2014


In many ways, Don Pepín García’s latest cigar reflects the inverse of many of the trends driving today’s smokes: no hipster lingo or ironic twist to the name, no urban graphics for the band, a box that’s just, well, a box.

The artwork is Old World. Even the cigar’s name—Spanish for antiquity or old age—harkens to another era.

But La Antiguedad doesn’t dwell totally in the past. This lightly box-pressed new line from My Father Cigars includes a trendy 60-ring gauge Toro Gordo among its five vitolas. And the Robustos smoked for this review—5.25 inches long with a 52 ring gauge—are larger than the more common robusto dimensions.

The Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper is lovely, an oily rich brown leaf over a double binder of Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo leaves. The filler is from the García’s Nicaraguan farms in different regions of the country. According to the My Father Cigars website, the filler tobacco undergoes “a very strict and rigorous curing process of no less than three and a half years,” and it shows in the smooth, balanced blend.

What you’ll experience with the first puff should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Don Pepín’s creations: a blast of pepper. But there’s a darker, richer undertone that stands out as the pepper quickly backs off. The overall strength moves down a notch or two through the first half as well.

A full tobacco sweetness, along with dark fruit and cocoa, braid through the cigar almost from the start, changing depth along the way.

Construction is what you’d expect from My Father Cigars: first-rate. Draw, burn, and smoke production were excellent in each of the examples I tried. The single stick price is a little under $8 and they’re 20 to a box.

This is a fine cigar, one that an experienced smoker is likely to appreciate and enjoy. I rate it four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

-George E

photo credit: Corona Cigar

Quick Smoke: Crowned Heads Las Calaveras LC550

13 Jul 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”


This limited edition line represents a departure for Crowned Heads: only 3,000 boxes, and production by My Father Cigars rather than Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. But it certainly fits right in with other Crowned Heads offerings with top quality and great taste. An oily Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper blends with Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos for a rich, complex cigar. The robusto (5 x 50, $8.95) burns slowly, produces lots of smoke, and has a great finish. Planned as an annual release, Las Calaveras is one not to be missed.

Verdict = Buy.

-George E

photo credit: Crowned Heads

Quick Smoke: La Aurora Corojo Robusto

12 Jul 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”.

La Aurora Corojo

If you are searching for a tasty, mild-to-medium strength cigar that performs like a thoroughbred yet sells for glue-factory prices, look no further. With a little searching, you can find La Aurora Corojos for under $2.50 a stick by the box. The appearance isn’t great, but it has a mouth-watering pre-light aroma and excellent construction. There’s a little spice, some citrus, and a bit of toast, which is fairly consistent throughout. You won’t be blown away, but at these prices La Aurora Corojo will perfectly fit many smoking situations.

Verdict = Buy.

-George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Matilde Renacer Toro Bravo

5 Jul 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”.

I was looking forward this new cigar from legendary blender José Seijas, but I was, unfortunately, quickly disappointed. I smoked two of the 6.5-inch, 54 ring gauge sticks at $8.50 each. The taste was good—Dominican spice, some coffee, and floral notes—and there was lots of smoke. But on the first Matilde Renacer Toro Bravo the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper exploded shortly after being lit. And, while the second stayed together, the burn was so bad it negatively impacted my experience. While I realize it’s likely these two smokes were an anomaly, I can’t recommend a cigar that performed so poorly.

Verdict = Sell.

-George E

photo credit: N/A

Quick Smoke: Camacho Ecuador Churchill

29 Jun 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”.camacho-sq


This cigar, with an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and filler from Honduras and the Dominican, may seem nothing like the Camacho blends of old. But it reminded me of the first Camachos I smoked, if not in taste then in attitude and approach. Flavorful, strong, forthright. At $7, the seven-inch Churchill is a bargain not to be missed.

Verdict = Buy.

-George E

photo credit: Camacho

Commentary: What I Told the FDA

26 Jun 2014


Spurred by a recent article from one of my colleagues, I’ve submitted my comments to the FDA on its proposal to regulate cigars.

I tried to follow Patrick’s excellent advice, especially to be brief and focused. I’d add only one suggestion to his—sign your name. A signed comment is worth dozens of anonymous ones.

I took a somewhat different tack than most filers, focusing on suggestions that I believe could increase the likelihood of getting an exemption with minimal impact on the industry.

Since I shared my recent letter to the FDA’s tobacco czar, I thought I’d do the same with these comments:

I am an adult cigar smoker and fully support an FDA exemption for premium, hand-rolled cigars. I’ll let others enumerate the reasons this should be done. Instead, I’ll focus on three areas that I believe both sides could accept and that would facilitate reaching an agreement on an exemption.

- Enact a federal minimum age of 21 for purchasing premium, hand-rolled cigars. This would both demonstrate the industry’s sincerity that it does not market to underage youth and allay fears of tobacco opponents.

- Require officers and directors of cigar companies whose products are exempted to annually attest, under penalty of perjury, that their companies and products adhere to the requirements of the exemption.

- Ensure that the exemption is clear and unambiguous, and does not, under any circumstances, allow creation of other exempted products, such as lower-cost cigarette alternatives.

I do feel compelled to comment on one specific component of the proposal: the $10 price floor. This would be devastating, leaving an industry so diminished as to require no more regulation than luxury-priced dark chocolate truffles. I urge that rules be enacted without an impractical, ruinous price floor.

Thank you for your consideration.

I hope everyone will file their own comments. Feel free to copy, adapt, or use any portion of mine. Read through our (many) previous articles on the subject for other ideas and sources. But don’t miss the opportunity to register your views here.

-George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Insiders: Dale Cahill and Darcy Cahill, Authors of ‘Tobacco Sheds’

23 Jun 2014

Dale and Darcy Cahill’s interest in tobacco sheds grew naturally, from observation and a simple question. When they began dating some years ago, Dale would drive down from Vermont and, along the way to her home in Connecticut, he passed quite a few big barns.

Having an engineering mind and a history of hands-on work, he was curious and asked Darcy what was in them. “I said, ‘I don’t know. Let’s go look,’” Darcy recalled. “Luckily, it happened to be the end of September, October. We walked into one of those places and… it smelled so good. And it was full of tobacco. It was just beautiful. He said, ‘We’ve got to start taking pictures of these.’”


That was the beginning of what’s become a seeming flood of photographs, calendars, note cards, even tobacco leaves themselves—dried, preserved, and mounted on barn board. You can check it all at their website.

Now, the couple is embarking on a new project, courtesy of a Library of Congress Archie Green Fellowship, recording the oral histories of everyone they can find involved in tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley.

Their second book on the valley’s tobacco sheds just came out. It reflects their efforts to document and preserve New England’s tobacco heritage.

Dale estimates there are currently between 5,000 and 7,000 tobacco sheds still being used, whether for tobacco, vehicle storage, or something else. He’s glad to see that because, he explained, Thomas Visser, a professor of historic preservation who Dale considers a mentor, taught him that the first way to preserve things is to keep them in use. “It’s when you quit using them, they fall apart,” Dale said.

And, Dale added, even a few new sheds have gone up in recent years.

As should be obvious, New England’s agricultural heritage in tobacco is important to Dale and Darcy. It’s easy to understand when they talk lovingly about the structures they’ve toured, the people they’ve met, and the work they’ve done.

Their enthusiasm for the subject seems nearly boundless. Last year, for example, they performed—she plays fiddle, he plays guitar and mandolin—at the Luddy/Taylor Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum’s annual cigar barbecue, which includes a farm tour and appearances by cigar company reps. “It’s very small scale,” Darcy said of the event. “It’s very sweet.”

With the Cahills keeping their eyes, and cameras, trained on the landscape, there’s no doubt that the tobacco sheds, old and new, have someone watching over them.

Contest: Win a Free Copy of Dale and Darcy’s New Book

One lucky reader will win a free copy of Dale and Darcy’s beautiful new book, Tobacco Sheds: Vanishing Treasures in the Connecticut River Valley. Just submit a comment below and we’ll select a winner at random next week. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you win (we will not publish your email address; just make sure you provide it in the space provided when you submit your comment). Here are all the contest rules. Good luck.

-George E

photo credit: